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Saturday, June 26, 2010

The diesel-electric helicopter

EADS Innovation Works presents model of a concept helicopter with a diesel-electric hybrid propulsion system as part of the Group’s research to make helicopters more environmentally friendly.

The diesel-electric hybrid concept is one of the projects that are grouped under the name of eCO2avia by EADS Innovation Works. Highly efficient electrical motors driving the rotors, combined with OPOC (Opposed Piston, Opposed Cylinder) diesel engines, reduce fuel consumption and emissions by up to 50%. Take-offs and landings are possible on electrical power alone, resulting in lower noise levels and improved flight safety.
The main components of this hybrid system are multiple diesel-electric motor-generator units, a pair of high-performance batteries and a power electronics unit controlling the energy flows for best efficiency. The OPOC diesel engines, designed and built by EcoMotors International in the US, offer a fuel economy improvement of up to 30% compared to today’s helicopter turbine engines.
The OPOC engine’s power output shafts are fitted with advanced, weight-optimised generators delivering electrical current to a power electronics unit, which manages the distribution of the electricity to the electrical motors driving the main rotor and the tail rotor as well as the other user systems on the helicopter. High-performance batteries can store sufficient energy to enable the helicopter to take off and climb or approach and land on electrical power alone.
Several different kinds of combustion engines could be integrated into such a hybrid system, which is one of many examples of the research efforts undertaken by the
EADS Group towards achieving the aviation industry’s climate protection goals.

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